Tel-el-Kebir, battle of

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Tel-el-Kebir, battle of, 1882. In the third quarter of the 19th cent. Egypt's external debt became so great that Britain and France took control of the country's finances. The heavily taxed peasantry, led by an army officer, Ahmed Arabi, rebelled against their khedive (governor), whom they held responsible for their plight. British troops under Sir Garnet Wolseley landed in Egypt to support the khedive and in a surprise attack destroyed Arabi's army at Tel-el-Kebir, 130 miles north-east of Cairo. Arabi surrendered and pleaded guilty to rebellion, but liberal opinion in England ensured that his sentence was exile rather than death.

Kenneth Ingham